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Wednesday, October 10, 2007


Not my words; the words of some conventioneers who will arrive at McCormack Plaza West in Chicago on October 13, to learn more about how to locate, collect, and sell more of your names and personal data. Junk mail industry publication, DM News, has an article on what attendees want and don’t want at these annual shows. It was the less “sanguine” bunch that considered it a necessary evil. Does that mean that some members of the junk mail business are suddenly less optimistic about its future? Probably a direct result of my constant prodding of junk mailers to grant consumers rightful control over their names and private information, and compensate them when it is sold. Yeah…sure. For 35 years I made my way to these events as a junk mail list/data broker, and all I ever got out of it—as well as many of the participants I talked with—was the socialization factor. Hang around, have a few drinks, and tell other brokers how good your business was. But, admittedly, you had to be there to keep the competition from stealing your clients. It seems John Greco, DMA President, was asked by DM News who wouldn’t be at the convention who should be. His answer: “everyone who isn’t.” What? That statement flies in the face of his reaction to my suggestion six months ago, which recommended to Greco that he invite interested Chicago residents to the exhibition hall to ask list professionals just how their names and personal data are being sold everywhere non-stop. He didn’t even give me the courtesy of an answer. It could have been sort of a forum for consumers to find out what this secretive junk mail business is all about. He didn’t reply then, but now it seems like there might be room, so I suggest if any of you Chicagoans are curious about your sensitive data, hurry down to McCormack Plaza West during the show dates, Oct. 13-18. Tell Greco I sent you. As you would expect from an annual convention, there will be meetings and workshops mixed with frivolity on everything from a “Boot Camp” that is supposed to turn civilians into direct marketing professionals, to special guest Howie Mandel, “Deal or No Deal” TV Show host and comedian, who will present DMA awards. (See DMA07 Highlights) Sorely missing will be any mention of who should control the humongous plethora of consumer private information hanging precariously in the marketplace exposed regularly to ID thieves. One of the DMA’s “Special Interest Councils” caught my attention simply because of the headline announcing the gathering. It read: “Customer Relations Management—is it Still Relevant?” Not only is the junk mail industry in denial over who should control individuals’ names and personal data, they aren’t even sure anymore if “relations” with the customer are relevant.

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